4 Self-Service Trends and Pacesetter Practices to Watch in 2017

Posted by John Ragsdale on 1/11/17 5:00 AM

With the unprecedented planned spending for customer self-service portals, companies are looking for help on where to start. Over the last year, TSIA's VP of Support Services Research, Judith Platz, and I have had the opportunity to work with multiple TSIA members on evaluating their current self-service programs, tools and metrics, and making recommendations on investment priorities to accelerate self-service success. I'm hoping these engagements have been as informative for the members as they have been for us.

As we head into 2017, I wanted to recap some trends and member pacesetter practices we are tracking related to self-service.

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Topics: support services, social support, customer support, online communities, online support, customer engagement, self-service support, knowledge base

Why Knowledge Management Is Important

Posted by John Chmaj on 12/7/16 5:00 AM

I recently read a blog from TSIA's John Ragsdale on the state of knowledge management (KM) and what is shaping it today—how are organizations using it, what corporate cultures are they operating in, and who is still trying to fully understand the significant value knowledge management brings?

While there are many factors that can shape the view of knowledge management within an organization, those who have come to truly understand its value are reaping the rewards. 

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Topics: support, knowledge management, customer support, knowledgebase, online support, knowledge sharing, customer effort

Take Part in TSIA Social Support Research!

Posted by John Ragsdale on 12/2/16 5:00 AM

Today's customer is demanding support via their preferred channels, which means that online communities and Twitter are now being used as often as phone and email. No longer just a consumer phenomenon, social support has become a common practice in enterprise support, with the majority of B2B companies offering customer discussion forums. In fact, more than half of TSIA members are now offering some level of support via social media channels. But, that doesn't mean that we, as an industry, have it all figured out just yet.

You're invited to participate in TSIA's annual Social Support Survey, which tracks year-over-year trends in social channels offered for customer support, program ownership, performance metrics, service level agreements (SLAs), and staffing for both online communities and social media support. This year, we've added some new questions that will help us gain additional insight into community activity, including the role of customers vs. employees vs. partners in answering forum questions.

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Topics: social media, support services, service level agreement (SLA), social support, customer support, TSIA Survey, online communities, multi-channel support, online support, TSIA Research

TSW Las Vegas 2016: What I Heard

Posted by John Ragsdale on 10/28/16 5:00 AM

After each of our Technology Services World Conferences, I like to look back over all the 1:1 meetings, breakout session questions, and hallway conversations, and come up with some of the top trends and issues I heard. Last Tuesday, I had 1:1 meetings scheduled from 8 AM to 5:30 PM, which was a great opportunity to hear what members are working on, where they are seeing success, and where they are struggling. 

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Topics: knowledge management, professional services, social support, online communities, online support, professional services automation (PSA)

Intelligently Optimizing Digital Support Channels

Posted by Nick Sellers on 10/11/16 5:00 AM

Many businesses aren't clear as to what good digital support entails, with only vague notions about lowering costs and improving customer experience. Their focus is instead on implementing a platform that gives them the best return on investment, which is measured in money (and time) saved.

These businesses often also make the mistake of introducing digital support platforms—such as self-service, real-time chat, online communities and social networks—as discrete standalone projects even when part of a larger campaign. They also tend to prioritize budget and execution methods rather than customer experience and outcomes. While the former strategy can save a little money now, the latter will be what defines a support platform's long-term success.

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Topics: customer experience, social media, support services, social support, multi-channel support, online support, optimization, digital support

4 Essentials of a Winning Customer Self-Service Strategy

Posted by Jennifer MacIntosh on 8/23/16 6:30 AM

Great self-service is something most companies aspire to provide, in pursuit of an exceptional customer experience. When done well, it increases customer satisfaction and loyalty. It’s also cheaper and relieves the contact center from the burden of answering repetitive calls.

97% of the support leaders TSIA surveyed plan to invest in self-service tools in the next two years. To select the right tools, you first need to have a clear vision of what great self-service means to you and your customer.

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Topics: knowledge management, support services, customer support, online communities, online support, self-service support, customer portal, TSIA Partners

Top 3 Technology Investments for EMEA Businesses

Posted by John Ragsdale on 7/14/16 6:30 AM

The results of our annual Global Technology Survey allows us to get a detailed look at which new technology and organizational capabilities are seeing the most investment dollars from some of the top companies in the industry. Although overall planned spending is high across all survey categories, which relate in some way to one or several of TSIA's service disciplines, there were some key investment areas that stood out, especially in the Europe, Middle East, and Asia (EMEA) regions. In fact, over 80% of our international respondents are planning the majority of their spending in three main categories over the next one to two years. For any technology organization considering additional investments in technology and services in the years ahead, it's always a good idea to see where your peers have already adopted solutions in order to avoid losing a competitive edge. In this post, I'd like to share the top three areas EMEA region companies are investing in: billing and invoicing systems, IoT/smart services platforms, and self-service portals. 

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Topics: proactive support, online support, internet of things (IoT), customer portal, EMEA, smart services

The Art of Support: A Conversation With Francoise Tourniaire

Posted by John Ragsdale on 4/5/16 7:30 AM

In 1996, Francoise Tourniaire published the first edition of The Art of Support. Boy, the world has changed a lot since 1996, and the world of support has radically changed in the last 20 years. I’m happy to report that Francoise is back with a brand new edition of the book, The Art of Support: A Blueprint for Customer Success and Support Organizations, rewritten to reflect the realities of supporting customers today, including impacts such as social, mobile, customer success, new quality measures such as Customer Effort Scores, and a whole lot more. The book is available on Amazon in Kindle format, and available in hard copy from the FTWorks.com website. It will be available in hard copy from additional booksellers soon!

Francoise agreed to have a chat with me about the new book, and I wanted to share our conversation with readers of the TSIA blog. Here’s what we discussed. 

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Topics: support, knowledge management, customer support, online support, self-service support

Creating the Ultimate Customer Portal: Design

Posted by John Ragsdale on 12/1/15 7:30 AM


I receive more questions about customer portals, i.e., the web self-service site, than just about anything else. It is a topic that continues to be top of mind with members, and at our recent TSW conference in Las Vegas, I had quite a few discussions with attendees about their customer portal journey, including some amazing results, and unfortunately, some political, technical and financial challenges. To gather some of these thoughts together and answer some common questions surrounding how your organization can go about creating the ultimate customer portal, I’ll be discussing some key tips and tricks in this three-part blog series.

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Topics: customer support, online support, self-service support, customer portal, Creating the Ultimate Customer Portal

The State of Knowledge Management: 2015

Posted by John Ragsdale on 10/2/15 6:30 AM

TSIA's third annual knowledge management survey is complete, and the results clearly show how difficult it is for companies to get the people, process, and technology of knowledge management (KM) right. I am currently working on the findings, and will be publishing two research reports as well as presenting the findings in my Power Hour presentation at our upcoming TSW 2015 Service Transformations conference in Las Vegas this October. Here's a sneak preview of a few early findings.

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Topics: knowledge management, online communities, knowledgebase, online support

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